Todd Stern, US Climate Change Envoy for the United States said President Obama's administration was 'seized with the urgency of the task before us' at the opening session of international climate change talks in Bonn today.
Commenting on the speech, Ziaul Hoque Mukta, Oxfam's Bangladesh Program Coordinator, said: "Nobody knows more about urgency than the poor people faced with flash floods and food crises linked to climate change. Our worry is that rich countries are paralyzed by the urgency climate change represents.”
Though the talks have only just begun, the lack of concrete financing proposals or negotiating positions from rich countries means that most delegates worry little progress is possible in Bonn.
“We need Heads of State to grip the urgency of climate change with the same vigor they’re applying to the economic crisis this week at the G20 Summit in London,” said Antonio Hill, Oxfam Senior Climate Change Policy Adviser. “These problems are linked, and so are the solutions. Ensuring bank bailouts are accompanied by even larger investments to tackle the climate crisis is the only way countries can deliver on poor peoples’ needs in the face of climate change.”
Hill added, “It’s especially good news that Todd Stern’s remarks highlight the importance of funding adaptation in poor countries through a renewed global climate regime. We look forward to working with the Obama administration to ensure that both the US Congress and the international negotiations deliver the ‘robust resources’ for vulnerable communities that Mr. Stern said are needed.”
Mukta stressed the inadequacy of US mid-term emissions reduction target: “On emissions targets, the science demands more than what the US is putting on the table. Whatever the political realities may be, the realities of climate change impacts on people across the world – particularly the poorest – must come first and foremost at the negotiations. The world is counting on the US to step up and show some real leadership in reaching a global climate deal.” Statements made by President Obama’s Administration to date reflect a commitment to stabilize at 1990 levels by 2020.
Oxfam is calling for rich countries to cut their emissions by at least 25 - 40 percent on 1990 levels by 2020 and to provide at least $50 billion in new money each year to help the worlds poorest countries adapt to a changing climate.